Stevens Point- Being on the eve of the 2017 deer season a few reminders are in order for the upcoming hunt. Statistically the overall numbers of hunters participating nationwide is down significantly. Us hunters are in the minority making up about only 10% of the overall population.
In Wisconsin I would surmise that the numbers of participants would increase as our governing body has gotten rid of the age requirements for licenses. Wisconsin now joins 35 other states for not having a minimum age for hunters. My open opinion on that is that down the road it will not be an issue. What worries me is the short term.
Additionally, Wisconsin has a traditionally interesting population of hunters. I feel that the overzealous need for ownership of the deer might get a few hunters in trouble. What I mean by that is for a mentored hunter’s price an additional buck tag can be purchased. That will sound appetizing certainly to at least a population of hunters.
Most alarming to me is that the mentored rule of one weapon between the two has been eliminated. I raised both of my boys in the mentoring era of Wisconsin as well as my lady friend. I can tell you first hand that I am happy that there was only one weapon between the two of us while hunting. It allowed me to further my focus on them, one weapon in regards to safety and being aware of our environment. Having a second weapon in hand responsibly lowers the focus no matter what you say. If you are a responsible hunter you are constantly aware of your firearm and with two it is twice the awareness.
This legislative rule scares me for several reasons. First it continues the precedence of law makers who are not trained in the outdoors or wildlife. They are making rules and laws that fit their needs. It goes against the North American Conservation model but has been the status quo for the past 7 years or so.
Second it makes me wonder what is next? What law will be created that will eliminate further sound management that these legislators simply see as rules and restrictions.
Earlier this fall the legislation changed the way in which we are required to register a deer, turkey or goose. You no longer need to affix a tag to the animal as soon as it is shot. The law was changed initially from last year because some people complained writing a validation number on a piece of paper in the field was too hard. It was not too hard, it was just different. I have hunted out of state and have done what we did in Wisconsin last year and it was not an issue. It was different yes, and I had to make different plans and adjustments.
In response our lawmakers said to hell with tagging an animal. Just take it home and please register it by 5 pm the next day. I do not think everyone will follow the rules as set forth. Reverting back to my experiences in other states, Wisconsin’s hunters are unique. They are overall intense and take a great deal of ownership with what they do. Read a hunting forum and you get the idea. With the advent of phone in and call in registration we can never be sure of what the higher ups in the DNR are really telling us in regards to registration.
First and foremost you can be guaranteed they will never eat crow and make themselves look bad. That was evident in last year’s registration numbers. Simply put they can make up whatever they want with no oversight. Ask an employee in the department and mum is the word.
Some day we will have a transparent organization once again but until they we have to hope on the honesty of our people, all 600,000 plus of them. The more power you give the people and the less you give the biologists at the base level the greater the variability in the accuracy of the numbers that is plain science.
Ultimately we have to live by these rules and hope that others do to. I wish you the best of luck and make sure you either have your go wild card or id with you because that is all you will need in the woods.
Remember the gun safety of Treating every gun as if it were loaded, Always point the muzzle in a safe direction and Be sure of your target and beyond. Be safe and mindful of others and I hope you fill your imaginary tags.
Until next time, shoot straight.